Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ben Broadband?

Apparently, T-Mobile NL is selling 140k cable modem subs to Ziggo, and is holding on to 460k ADSL-subs now that KPN is no longer interested.

Background: T-Mobile NL acquired Orange NL last year from France Telecom for EUR 1.33bn. The number of mobile operators was reduced to 3, and T-Mobile acquired the Orange NL broadband unit as well (at the time, it had 554k subs).
Originally, FT owned Casema, the Dutch MSO that recently merged into Zesko/Ziggo. It offered cable modem broadband service, but switched to LLU when FT sold off Casema.

I always assumed that T-Mobile would sell the whole unit, since it is a mobile-only operator (outside the areas where it is the incumbent operator). Some remarks:
  • Why didn't Ziggo buy the entire base? DSL-subs within their territory could be migrated to their own platform, the rest could be sold on to Liberty Global's UPC unit.
  • It think the regulator (NMa) might not have approved a sale to KPN.
  • Was the price too high for existing players (such as Tele2, bbned) and potential market entrants (Belgacom, through Scarlet)? That would be very disappointing from a consumer point of view. Perhaps Tele2 and bbned (Telecom Italy) are planning a retreat from the Dutch market altogether, to make matters worse.
  • T-Mobile will have to rebrand the remaining broadband unit. It was suggested before that it could be under the 'Ben Broadband' banner (Ben being the original brand of the T-Mobile network, abandonned upon the buy-out by DT, and recently relaunched as a low-cost sub-brand).

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